There are two spiritual stages of the creative process I want to talk about.
1. The impulse
2. The ego
In stage one, the impulse, we get a good idea. A whisper from the divine heavens above, urging us toward a new project, a funny line, a cool collaboration, and on and on. The impulse is pure. It's full of that good juju that comes from feeling: this could work!
In stage two, the ego comes bumbling in. I like to think of my ego as a dopey old uncle who keeps trying to make a good point, but ultimately passes out drunk on the couch. That's the tame version. The evil version of the ego has something to do with nuclear weapons, so we won't go there.
This is what happens: you have a great motherlovin' idea. You're psyched about it. Then the ego comes in and tries to distort it for its own benefit. Our egos thrive off of convoluted thinking. Our egos just don't wanna die. But they have nothing to do with who we truly are and what we truly have to give to this world. The ego is simply darkness. So you get a great idea, and the ego comes in with a bunch of different tactics:
No, that'll never work. You suck. What were you thinking?
You are so brilliant, this is like, the best idea you've ever had and people should be falling at your feet because you're so GD talented.
Sure, sure, let's do this, but let's not make the goal "to heal the world," let's make it money, fame, vindication, unwarranted power or world domination.
The first two reactions of the ego are pretty self-explanatory, but the third is sneaky AF. Your good idea gets distorted because the ego shifts the goal from your divine impulse to a mucky self-serving platform.
Your good idea isn't the problem. Your ego is.
So next time you have a great impulse, and all of a sudden, your thoughts try to draw you away from the good idea, toward something that doesn't feel so good, check your ego. Ask what the project demands. Ask what would make this project truly successful. Stand on the ground of your impulse, not your ego.
And hopefully by then, your dopey old uncle will have passed out on the couch.